(May 24, 2018)—Buzzfeed recently covered a development in Sines v. Kessler, our landmark civil rights case against 25 neo-Nazis and white supremacist individuals and groups who descended on Charlottesville, VA, in August 2017. Following a three-hour oral argument in federal district court, Talal Ansari of Buzzfeed writes:
"A federal judge is weighing whether to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges white supremacists planned the deadly violence that erupted at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
The lawsuit, known as Sines v. Kessler, claims that the violence in Charlottesville was no accident and that groups organizing and attending the rally were in a "conspiracy to commit violence."
"In countless posts on their own websites and social media, defendants and their co-conspirators promised that there would be violence in Charlottesville and violence there was," the 96-page lawsuit states.
Federal Judge Norman Moon heard roughly three hours of oral arguments from defendants in the case, which also included Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group that focuses on colleges and universities, and the Traditionalist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi white supremacist group.
Spencer, who was recently raising money for his legal defense, was not at the courthouse but was reportedly represented by attorney John DiNucci, who did not immediately return a request for comment.
Numerous other defendants were represented by James Kolenich and Elmer Woodard. Kolenich told the Cincinnati Enquirer in February that he got involved in the case 'to oppose Jewish influence in society' and that he believes 'white people are the chosen people in the New Testament.'"
"The lawsuit is funded by a new nonprofit group, Integrity First for America, which aims to hold 'America's leaders accountable when their actions threaten longstanding principles of our democracy.' They have hired attorney Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued against the landmark Defense of Marriage Act Supreme Court case in 2013.
'It's become clear that part of their defense in the case was going to be, 'This is all self-defense,'' Karen Dunn, co–lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a conference call with reporters. 'Well, first of all, there are chats that directly contradict that.'
If the case goes forward, attorneys plan on using leaked conversations from the app Discord that allegedly show the defendants planning violent acts during the rally.
'They were talking about weaponry, violence, running over protesters, what is the best brand of mace,' Kaplan said when referring to the Discord chats.